Kotahitanga at its best

Our story ‘Asking the right questions’ on page 8 in our last edition of Contractor Connect highlighted the tenant workshops being held in Housing New Zealand’s Customer Support Centres in Manukau and Porirua.

The aim of these workshops was to find out if the questions and language we use when tenants report maintenance and repairs are easy for tenants to understand.

Asking the right questions continues to be a focus at the Customer Support Centre, so arrangements were made for a group of brand new Housing New Zealand customer support advisors to learn more about how Housing New Zealand manages requests received from tenants for maintenance and repairs.

The maintenance delivery team for East and South Auckland are an important part of the induction programme, which has two parts on maintenance and repairs.

The first part involves a presentation about the different roles and responsibilities in the maintenance team followed by general discussion on things like the different types of work orders and priorities, for example urgent work versus general work.

New recruits preparing to view a vacant Housing New Zealand property that is rea

New recruits preparing to view a vacant Housing New Zealand property that is ready to be let

The other part of the induction is a site visit. Richard Florence, from head contractor Spotless, arranged a site visit to two Housing New Zealand properties – one had recently become vacant and the other had been repaired and was ready to be re-let. Housing New Zealand maintenance supervisors Toafa Faimalo-Tai and Anne Faamoe also came along.

While they were at the property, Richard, Toafa and Anne gave insights and practical examples to the new inductees to support their learning experience.

They showed them the types of components in a standard state house and told them about the sorts of requests that can be received from tenants who need repairs or maintenance. They also explained what work is undertaken to the exterior and grounds when a property becomes vacant and what needs to be done on a property to bring it back up to standard and ready to let.

The positive feedback received from the new customer support advisors about the experience included:

- This visit will help me ask better questions when tenants ring the Customer Support Centre for repairs.

- The different scenarios shared by everyone will be extremely helpful to me when I am on the phone taking calls from tenants.

- It’s great to see Housing New Zealand has such a good relationship with its maintenance contractors.

Spotless General Manager Housing Nicholas Davidson says his team thoroughly enjoys providing an opportunity to add to the learning experience for new recruits.

“Spotless has been doing this for some time now as part of the induction programme for new staff,” Nick says. “When the customer support advisors understand requests for repairs received from tenants better, they can relay them to our teams to ensure the work we do in tenants’ homes is exactly what’s required. We’ll be continuing to host these sessions as we work with Housing New Zealand to provide a really positive customer experience.”

Shahnaz Rustomjee, Customer Support Trainer, agrees with Nick’s sentiments.

“The maintenance offsite visit is always a big hit with new staff, so from us, a big thank you to the East and South Auckland maintenance team and Spotless for allowing us to take our learning outside the ‘classroom’.”

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